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Wednesday Morning Briefing
October 25, 2017 / 12:15 PM / a month ago

Wednesday Morning Briefing

The U.S. government widens the parameters for citizen surveillance, Amazon reveals plans to drop deliveries directly into customers’ homes and the second part of a special series explains why a Reuters journalist purchased human body parts.

A woman collects firewood on the outskirts of Diwaniya, Iraq October 12, 2017. REUTERS/Alaa Al-Marjani

Special report

After a few emails, a body broker sold Reuters reporter Brian Grow two heads and a cervical spine for $300. The spine came from a young man whose parents were too poor to bury him – and they say they never knew his body would be sold. Read Part Two of the investigative series.

How and why a Reuters journalist purchased human body parts. 

Reuters TV: The body trade 

U.S.

The U.S. government has broadened an interpretation of which citizens can be subject to physical or digital surveillance to include “homegrown violent extremists,” according to official documents seen by Reuters. Read the exclusive.  

The Trump administration will temporarily delay the processing of most refugees from 11 countries identified as high-risk, while resuming refugee admissions for other countries, government officials said. 

The U.S. Supreme Court formally dropped plans to hear the last remaining challenge to an earlier version of President Donald Trump’s travel ban targeting several Muslim-majority countries and a ban on refugees, but a fight over the legality of his latest restrictions still could reach the nine justices.

Tensions among Republicans about Trump boiled over as two senators accused the president of debasing U.S. politics and the country’s standing abroad, a rebellion that could portend trouble for his legislative agenda. 

Banks, credit card issuers and other financial companies will be able to block customers from banding together to sue over disputes, after the U.S. Senate narrowly killed a rule banning the firms from using “forced arbitration” clauses. 

Business

The dollar got a lift after a report that Republican senators were leaning toward John Taylor to be the next Federal Reserve chief, while share markets turned flat after a run of highs.

The Canadian government encouraged Bombardier to make a deal with Airbus for its CSeries planes to thwart a potential venture with Chinese investors, according to five sources familiar with the matter. Read the exclusive.

Breakingviews - Lloyds capital gusher suffers regulatory blockage  

Earnings

Visa, the world’s largest payments network operator, reported an 11 percent increase in fourth-quarter profit, driven higher by its purchase of Visa Europe, as more people made payments using its network. 

Coca-Cola reported better-than-expected profit and revenue for the third quarter as North America sales rose 3 percent on higher demand for Sprite, tea and coffee. 

U.S. drugstore company Walgreens' profit and revenue beat analysts’ estimates in the fourth quarter, as it benefited from an expansion of mail services.  

Anthem reported better-than-expected profit in the third quarter as United States’ second biggest health insurer added more members in its commercial and specialty business and increased its premium rates.  

Migrating Great White pelicans rest as they are fed as part of an Israeli Agriculture Ministry funded project, at a water reservoir in Mishmar Hasharon, central Israel October 24, 2017.REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun

Migrating Great White pelicans rest as they are fed as part of an Israeli Agriculture Ministry funded project, at a water reservoir in Mishmar Hasharon, central Israel October 24, 2017.REUTERS/Ronen Zvulun

Technology

Moscow-based Kaspersky Lab acknowledged that its security software had taken source code for a secret American hacking tool from a personal computer in the United States.  

In the high-stakes, high-cost battle among global automakers to develop ever more efficient vehicles, one of the biggest breakthroughs in internal combustion engine technology in years looks to be coming from one of the industry’s smaller players: Mazda. 

Apple, which recently said it was including wireless charging in its latest iPhone X and iPhone 8 smartphones, has acquired New Zealand firm PowerbyProxi that designs wireless power products for consumers and industry. 

Twitter said it would add labels to election-related advertisements and say who is behind each of them, after a threat of regulation from the United States over the lack of disclosure for political spending on social media. 

The creators of an embattled cybercurrency technology project called Tezos expressed regret about their ongoing dispute with the head of a Swiss foundation that controls the $232 million they raised in one of the largest “initial coin offerings” ever. 

Amazon has plans to drop off packages directly into shoppers’ homes. The world’s largest online retailer announced Amazon Key, a lock and camera system that users control remotely to let delivery associates slip goods into their houses.  

World

China’s ruling Communist Party broke with recent precedent, unveiling a new leadership line-up without a clear successor to President Xi Jinping, who has become arguably the most powerful Chinese leader since Mao Zedong.  

Kurdish authorities in Iraq offered to put an independence drive on hold, stepping up efforts to resolve a crisis in relations with Baghdad via dialogue rather than military means.  

Iran’s defense capabilities are not negotiable, Supreme Leader Ayatollah Ali Khamenei said in remarks made previously but which now come amid increased pressure from the U.S. government over Tehran’s ballistic missile program.  

Thailand marked the start of a lavish, five-day funeral for King Bhumibol Adulyadej with a Buddhist religious ceremony attended by senior members of its royal family.  

Commentary

With Islamic State in fatal decline and the edges of Kurdistan afire, the Middle East is entering a new era, dominated by the Saudi-Iranian power struggle, writes Peter Van Buren in the first of a Reuters series examining how the defeats suffered by IS will re-shape the region. That battle will involve shifting Sunni-Shi'ite alliances, a sidelined United States and a Saudi Arabia fighting to increase its influence in Iraq and Syria. "The victor after some 14 years of overlapping struggles?" asks Van Buren. "In the post-Islamic State Middle East, look for Tehran to emerge dominant." 

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